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10 network virtualization, SDN and data center companies to watch

Brandon Butler | Feb. 28, 2013
After years of venture capital and start-up focus on consumer-focused tech companies, enterprise networks and the data center are back in vogue.

HotLink gives IT administrators the power to set access controls, track benchmarking and use, make changes to, configure and manage the instances across clouds.

The company has an impressive list of backers. Its advisory board includes CIOs from some of Silicon Valley's biggest names, including from Facebook, Citrix and EA. Partners include VMware, Red Hat, Microsoft and Citrix, makers of the four major hypervisor platforms.

Flush with venture funding and actual customer-generated revenue, and fresh off winning a best in show award at VMworld 2012, HotLink is now looking to broaden its products' integration with additional management platforms and to increase their functionality.


Headquarters: Santa Clara, with offices in Lyon, France.

Founded: 2010

Focus: Application-defined networking for the cloud

Product availability: Public beta of CloudWeaver launched in January; general availability expected in early 2013.

Funding: $3.3M in series A from Idinvest Partners, a pan-European mid-market private equity firm.

Management: Pascale Vicat-Blanc, founder and CEO, is former research director at INRIA (French National Institute for Research in Computer Science) and former CIO of a Grid 5000 Data Center, as well as project manager at CERN.

More information: Lyatiss 

Lyatiss is taking a slightly different approach to software-defined networking and instead is focused on application-defined networking.

"Cloud networks are unpredictable and complex; traditional networks are blind to the applications running on them and rigid," says CEO Vicat-Blanc. "There's a missing link there."

Lyatiss's recently launched CloudWeaver product is an operating system that runs on Amazon Web Services' cloud that makes networks application-aware. It has a series of collectors that monitor application demands in real-time through an API, collects the correlating network requirements and provisions the network to those specifications. If one application needs a low-latency connection for speed, the network will automatically be configured for that. If another app needs high bandwidth for a certain type of traffic, the network can be optimized for that, too.

Lyatiss was born out of the publicly funded French technology research institute INRIA where Vicat-Blanc studied high-demanding applications. Researchers monitored the virtual networking developments in U.S. academia, as well as the market adoption of cloud computing, and saw an opportunity to link the two with network controllers.

"There are a lot of business opportunities in this market," Vicat-Blanc says. "Networking and the cloud used to be separated, but now there's a convergence and there's a lot to be done to make them work together." Users will not embrace SDN technology if it isn't practical for them to use, and making it practical is about ensuring that the network can respond to the needs of the applications running on it, she says.


Headquarters: San Francisco


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